90% of Petraeus’s Captured ‘Taliban’ Were Civilians

During his intensive initial round of media interviews as commander in Afghanistan in August 2010, Gen. David Petraeus released figures to the news media that claimed spectacular success for raids by Special Operations Forces: in a 90-day period from May through July, SOF units had captured 1,355 rank-and-file Taliban, killed another 1,031, and killed or … Continue reading “90% of Petraeus’s Captured ‘Taliban’ Were Civilians”

Deferring to Petraeus, NIE Failed to Register Taliban Growth

Despite evidence that the Taliban insurgency had grown significantly in 2010, the U.S. intelligence community failed to revise its estimate for Taliban forces as part of a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Afghanistan in December. That unusual decision was in deference to Gen. David Petraeus, commander of U.S.-NATO forces in Afghanistan, who did not want … Continue reading “Deferring to Petraeus, NIE Failed to Register Taliban Growth”

Celebrity Generals

Let’s consider for a moment the fates of two men who took unique paths in military life and whose careers were once intertwined: Gen. David Petraeus, now our Afghan War commander, and his former subordinate, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, our former Afghan War commander before he became the first general since Douglas MacArthur to be axed … Continue reading “Celebrity Generals”

Petraeus’s Two Campaigns

[Note for TomDispatch Readers: Last Saturday, Chalmers Johnson died. I’m particularly proud that, in his last years, he did much of his most penetrating analysis of American militarism and our war state for this Web site. He penned his first piece for TomDispatch, “Assassins R Us,” in November 2003, called for abolishing the CIA here … Continue reading “Petraeus’s Two Campaigns”

Continued Foibles in Iraq and Afghanistan

After Richard Nixon started the U.S. troop drawdown in Vietnam, the American public thought “problem solved” and demonstrations on college campuses dissipated. Then it was disclosed that Nixon, while reducing U.S. forces in Vietnam, was escalating a parallel war in Cambodia by bombing and invasion. Antiwar protests resumed with a new frenzy. Similarly, for some … Continue reading “Continued Foibles in Iraq and Afghanistan”

The Petraeus Bait and Switch

In interviews in recent weeks, Gen. David Petraeus has been taking a line on what will happen in mid-2011 that challenges President Barack Obama’s intention to begin a troop withdrawal from Afghanistan by that date. This new Petraeus line is the culmination of a brazen bait-and-switch maneuver on the war by the most powerful military … Continue reading “The Petraeus Bait and Switch”